BOX 1-1
Charge to the Committee

An ad hoc steering committee will plan and conduct a public workshop to explore criteria for identifying highly successful K-12 schools and programs in the area of STEM education through examination of a select set of examples. The committee will determine some initial criteria for nominating successful schools to be considered at the workshop. The examples included in the workshop must have been studied in enough detail to provide evidence to support claims of success. Discussions at the workshop will focus on refining criteria for success, exploring models of “best practice,” and an analysis of factors that evidence indicates lead to success. The discussion from the workshop will be synthesized in an individually authored workshop summary.

formed to carry out this work. The committee was charged with “outlining criteria for identifying effective STEM schools and programs and identifying which of those criteria could be addressed with available data and research, and those where further work is needed to develop appropriate data sources.” The detailed charge is shown in Box 1-1.

To carry out part of its charge, the committee organized a workshop, held in May 2011, that had three goals:

1. describing the primary types of K-12 schools and programs that can support successful education in the STEM disciplines;

2. examining data and research that demonstrate the effectiveness of these school types; and

3. summarizing research that helps to identify both the elements that make such programs effective and what is needed to implement these elements.

This report is a summary of that workshop.1 The remainder of this chapter elaborates on why STEM education is so important and on the complexity of the task of identifying the features that are essential to successful outcomes for students. Chapter 2 explores four different basic


1The workshop sessions included formal presentations and structured panel discussions. Because the primary purpose was for the committee to support its development of consensus findings for a separate report, there were opportunities for the committee to question presenters. There were also some opportunities for general discussion. This summary synthesizes the material presented and highlights from the questions and discussion. The committee also wrote a report summarizing its findings, conclusions, and recommendations on STEM education (National Research Council, 2011).

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